Is it “Better to Have Loved and Lost, Than to Have Never Loved At All”?

Alfred Lord Tennyson, I wholeheartedly disagree with you.

I was 42 miles away from home on the night that I nearly killed myself.

I don’t remember what time it was; only that it was the very early morning of May 27 and that any warmth that had lingered from the daylight hours into the evening of May 26 had been driven out by the pre-sunrise chill.

I had just celebrated my 21st birthday and I was standing with a knife against my chest eight feet and two years away from the spot where the ex said, “I love you” for the first time. He was in another part of his house telling my friend probably something similar to what he’d once told me.

My life has been all about the experience, whether living them out or encouraging others to have their own — the crazier the better. Because no experience is too small, I feel a certain a sense of achievement in knowing that I have lived through this life of mine so far.

And love itself is crazy – it can potentially lead you to speak, think and act in ways that you once thought unthinkable. It can be atmospheric and humbling all at once. Depending on the type that you have, love can be your foundation or your salvation or it can emotionally and mentally cripple you.

So though I say all of that and despite the fact that I know that regret is a waste of time, even this experience junky feels some regret in remembering the ex whose love I wished I’d never known.

I would trade the indescribable euphoria and hope and vindication and everything else that tore through me when I heard him say the unthinkable, “Melissa, I love you” for the first time — because I can’t say that any of it was worth the years of pain and desolation that came after.

My love for him made me blind to everything that unfolded in front of me after he said those four words. I wouldn’t let myself see that he and my friend were drawn to each other nor would I let myself believe that anyone who claimed to love me so fiercely could move on.

He didn’t put that knife to my chest; I take ownership over what I almost did. But any experience that potentially leads the way to a seemingly irreparable broken heart and such desperation is perhaps one that I could have blissfully gone without.

Yes, without him, I wouldn’t have learned from the experience and the bitterness from the experience no longer lingers, but in his case, I’d rather be ignorant.

You know what Mr. Tennyson said that I like better?

“Men may come and men may go,

But I go on forever.”

He wasn’t writing it in the context that I’ve chosen to use it, but I still think it’s beautiful.

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